Thursday, October 25 - What We Did Today!

Today our 12 caterpillars were inside and outside, working together and working alone, and seeming to enjoy it all!  I know I did.

At the art table, we created spiders.  There were some books for reference, but the idea was to decide what they needed for their spider, put it together except for the legs, and then have Alicia help with the legs using the glue gun.  The kids were so proud of their creations.  Some of them are nestled in out classroom web while others were added to webs created by their owners.  Baker had his placed just right on his web and then taped to the wall.

Outside, Morrie was making a cake in the dirt while Baker was climbing Mt. Everest!  Many of the kids were digging in the dirt having a grand time.

There was much interest in the ramps and car garages today.  Various kids were working together with one of the new garages, while Oliver and Cordelia were running things through tubes at different pitches.  Once the garage cleared up, Elliette, Seyi, and June began using it with people and a script instead of cars.  They were busy for quite a while.

At the play dough table, Lisette and Elliette were rolling out black and purple dough and cutting out Halloween cats, witches, and skeletons.  Others joined in throughout the morning.

During circle, we had the chance to talk about germs from coughing and sneezing.  The Butterfly class made germ gardens, and I was able to borrow one to show the kids the germs that had grown.  With that information and a picture in their minds of what germs looked like, most of the kids agreed they would rather wash their hands then eat those germs!

My thanks to Alicia and James for all of their help today!

Tuesday, October 23 - What We Did Today!

Today we celebrated James 4th birthday with a song and chocolate cake!  Melinda had about seven kids helping with the cake.  They are going to be amazing bakers if they are not already!

We painted pumpkins in the water table and then washed them in the buckets.  Which one was the most fun?  Hard to tell, but there was definitely a lot of participation.

At the art table, the kids were dropping marbles and some white paint into a cake pan lined with black paper.  As they roll the marbles around the pan, they create lines similar to those in a spider web.  Some kids chose to use more paint than others giving their web a different look.

There has been much interest in the car area as we add blocks and ramps to the regular space.  The kids are testing out different ways to send their cars down the ramps, different types of ramps, and materials to make the ramps.  We are just starting to do some problem solving in this area.  How high should the ramp be?  Can we add another ramp?  How can we stop the car at the end of the ramp?

Many of the kids were working on our number puzzles.  These can be tricky.  They are set up so that for each number, the puzzle board has the same number of objects painted on it and the same number of puzzle pieces.  For instance, the number 3 puzzle has three caps on the board and three pieces to put together.  This helps begin the process of connecting the numeral 3 to three objects.

This class is such a joy, thank you for sharing them with me!  My thanks to Michelle and Melinda for all of their help today!

Monday, October 22 - What We Did Today!

Today in first circle we the kids talked for quite a while.  We talked again about germs and colds, but the kids took the discussion to various other subjects.  We instigated the quiet hand policy, and, amazingly, most of the kids were able to remember to raise a hand if they had something to tell us.

There were many new things going on the centers.  We were painting pumpkins and then washing them.  For many of the kids the washing is the best part!  Bodhi and Bash worked on a pumpkin together which led to Josie telling Cheryl she wanted to share her pumpkin with someone.  It was obviously more fun with two!

There was purple and black play dough with many Halloween cookie cutters available.  Several of the kids joined in play dough to bring out some spooky Halloween creatures!

The dry table is full of leaves and spiders.  There are tweezers available help find and pick up the spiders.  At first, many of the kids were pretending to be afraid of the spiders, screaming when they spotted one.  This changed during the play to catching the spiders and building a spider home for them.  The tweezers (which look like alligators) became a part of the game by eating the spiders.  This game involved four and sometimes five boys and lasted for most of the morning.

Simon and Liam have been working with ramps for the last two weeks, so when I spotted a building toy that was about putting planks together to create different types of ramps, I bought it and brought it into class.  What I discovered was that there was much interest.  That if I was willing to help with the building, I would be doing ALL of the building.  And that it was probably to advance for these kids.  It was certainly worth a try though and I will bring it out again near the end of school.

Outside, Brittni was busy the entire morning.  She had house builders, diggers, cricket spider hunters, and tree climbers.  I wasn’t out long, but I did notice kids having to work together and doing a good job!

My thanks to Cheryl and Brittni for all of their help!

Wednesday, October 17 - What We Did Today!

Today in first circle we talked about germs again and then we started our own germ gardens.  As with most gardens, germs need to grow in or on something, so we used bread.  Each child received a ½ slice of white bread and a bag with their name on it.  I asked the kids to cough, sneeze, or spit on the bread then mist it with water before putting into their bags and sealing them.  They are presently in the kids’ cubbies though they are not for taking home yet.  We will be watching over the next week to see how they grow.

Outside, someone was busy the entire morning.  At one point, Jeff had several kids digging, working in the play structure, and riding the roller coaster.  We checked out the ghost pumpkin which was split in half yesterday to see what was inside.

The first page of our “All About Me” books was finished up today with collages of families.  Next, we will be comparing our homes – do we live in an apartment, tent, house, or something else?  What color is it?  What is it made of?

The baby washing was busy off and on this morning.  The two busiest stations today were by far, the dramatic play center and the ramps, blocks and balls.  Dramatic play began with about three kids deciding to go on a picnic, so they packed up the food and plates and headed for the manipulative area.  Later, Lex started a restaurant with unusual food options.  He made me a trout sandwich.  When I showed concern about the eyes staring at me, he offered to cut the head off.  Very thoughtful!  Gus came over to join him and was quickly offered a job at the restaurant.  Josie joined in and they continued for a while.

The ramps had been set up in a way that the kids had control over.  They could move them around, rebuild with the blocks, or take out the blocks altogether.  At some point in the morning, all of these were done!  There was a basket with ping pong balls, bigger 4-inch balls, a tape roll, and some smaller round things.  The ping pong balls became such a hit they asked me for more, so I brought the eight out that I had.  Their use changed immediately from rolling to bouncing.  Liam discovered how to throw the ball so that it would get caught in a back and forth movement between two blocks, he continued checking out other things he could do with these very bouncy balls.  I look forward to seeing how these balls motivate kids to problem solve!

My thanks to Kristen and Jeff for all of their help today!

Tuesday, October 16 - What We Did Today!

Today was another beautiful day shared by many while outside digging and sliding.  Our white, or ghost pumpkin, was beginning to rot on the bottom, so we took the opportunity to open it up and check it out.  It had split on the bottom early in its’ growth, so we found a false outer skin on the inside!  I was probably more excited about this than the kids, as Seyi and Elliette looked at me trying to figure out what was so cool about that!

Harlan, Oliver, and June were busy building a home for the worms in the garden.  They very considerately added some unripe tomatoes for food.  Oliver told me that once they were finished, they would build me a comfy home with a bed and t.v.

Morrie and Alex were very busy digging up the drier dirt and filling a truck over and over.  I didn’t hear what their plan was, but it was obviously a good one as it keep them busy for a long time.

At the art table, the kids were making collages using various Halloween themed items.  It was an opportunity to discover how much glue is enough!  James had a great time using stamps to create stickers that he then could put on his paper.  Cordelia stuck with the felt ghosts and pumpkins.

We were washing babies at the water table and I heard that Baker did an awesome job getting his baby extra clean.  As usual, the cars and trucks were popular with most of the kids.  I had set up a few ramps near the cars and a basket of other things that rolled giving them something else to think about.  Knox was sure to test out everything in the basket to see how they rolled.

My thanks to George and Debbie for all of their help today!

Monday, October 15 - What We Did Today!

Today we talked about who was in our families.  We counted each of the kids’ families.  Some of the kids included their cat or dog, grandparents, or aunts and uncles.  From there, the kids headed to the art table and began making collages of their families.  This can be a tedious job for those who would rather be somewhere else, so they may have taken a break to finish another day.  This will be the second page in our “All About Me” books.

We were washing babies today in the water table.  They are not yet ready to be washing any real babies, but they sure seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Outside, Eliza and Gus were rebuilding the play structure.  They were hammering and sawing away in construction hats while Lex was deciding whether or not he should sit sideways on the roller coaster.  Bash and Margot were digging away in the garden and River was working in the sand box.

Addy and Una were playing guitars together and singing softly while Liam and Simon testing every slanted surface they could find to roll cars down.  Their theory at the time was to see which cars and which ramps would allow the car to roll down and land right side up!  They have been pursuing this for over a week now.  I set-up some different blocks and ramps near the writing table to see if that would help them to move their testing up a notch, but I think that they were enjoying running ramps out the loft windows, off the loft bannister, and through the tubes way too much.

My thanks to Cassie and Keane for all of their help today!

Thursday, October 11 - What We Did Today!

Today we celebrated Cordelia’s 4th birthday with a song and strawberry cake.  There were many bakers helping with this.  I did not see a crumb in the compost, so I’m guessing it was pretty good!

Outside, the weather was gorgeous and brought a few kids out to enjoy it.  Lisette, Baker, and James were out when I was out sliding themselves and trucks down the slide.  Baker was also working on his balancing with a beam across the stair and palette. 

Many of the kids came, played, built, and left the car and train area.  It started with Lisette, but through the morning, I saw Baker, Harlan, June, Alex, Elliette, Knox, Morrie and Oliver join in.

The dry table with the boxes and tubes was tested out a bit more today.  Someone found a way to climb higher up so they were able to reach the tubes.  Some of the tubes send the chestnuts into containers while others just send them back down to the table.  So far, no one has asked for the ladder or found a chair to move to the table, but they will figure that out soon enough.

The water table is still drawing interest.  Bubble making is always a fun thing to do especially if the water is warm!  Using the whisks builds muscles in different areas of the hands and wrist necessary for fine motor operations.  Next week I will try to find other tools to make bubbles.  Perhaps straws.

We have large pieces of paper on the easel which seem to allow for more large body movement.  Rather than just putting one or two lines on the paper, the kids are working across the paper with big arm movements!

These kids are doing an amazing job in circle as well as walking in the hallway.  We can share some information, sing a song, share some information, and then sing another song with little interruption.  As we walk down to the gym, these kids truly are as quiet as a worm, or butterfly, or whatever they choose to walk as!

My thanks to Jeff and Josh for all of their help today!

Wednesday, October 10 - What We Did Today!

Today at first circle, we started a book called “We Are All Alike…We Are All Different!”  This is a great book, written by Kindergarteners comparing our similarities and our differences.  It is a beginning to celebrating diversity.  The books that we will be writing, “All About Me”, will be expressing each of us as individuals.  We will be reading these to our friends and to the classroom as a way to compare how we are the same and how we are different.

I was able to help the kids finish their self-portraits which will be the cover of their “All About Me” books.  I took six kids at a time to the art table, gave them each a mirror, and had them tell me what they saw.  We talked about colors, shapes, and places on our heads.  Most of the kids took this seriously and were very proud of how their portrait turned out.  Be sure to check them out!  They are on the front bulletin board in alphabetical order.

As I was focused on helping with the self-portraits, I didn’t see a lot of what was going on elsewhere, but I did notice that Naomi had about six kids outside doing various things such as digging up worms, climbing Mt. Everest, and riding the roller coaster.

Once finished up with their portraits, most kids stayed inside and played some games.  There were several marble runs being built, fairy houses with magna tiles, Duplos and Legos, and cars speeding down ramps.

After snack, we have been looking at magazines while others finish up.  Once circle comes, I ask if anyone read or saw something they would like to tell us about.  This has been readily accepted as opposed to when I was having them read books.  As the main idea is to allow kids to practice turning pages in a book, knowing the front and back of a book, noting the writing in the book and for early readers reading something they are interested in, the magazines are just as good as an actual book.  Especially if they enjoy it!

My thanks to Bevin and Naomi for all of their help today!

Tuesday, October 9 - What We Did Today!

Today we had some new activities.  At the art table, we were working with water color cakes.  It was set up as an opportunity to discover what makes the colors lighter or darker, which paper works best with the water, and to see the different styles each of the kids have.

The water table was very busy today.  It was warm soapy water with whisks, an egg beater, and straws.  Oliver found a way to create enough bubbles that he could wear a beard of bubbles.  Others were just enjoying the satisfaction of blowing bubbles.

The dry table didn’t draw anyone that I saw.  I taped several boxes together to create an apparatus allowing kids to pour chestnuts through tubes and see where they go.  Two are high with one or two lower ones.  This may have something to do with a lack of interest.  I like to work with the kids asking them how they could reach the tube, what do you see in our classroom that might help.  Eventually, they will be automatically problem solving around this area.

Sara was working with a group of kids who were measuring chairs and tables in the classroom using tape measures.  They were so interested, they took off. Cordelia even measured me (I’m shrinking, evidently!)

Griffin was outside for much of the morning helping kids to climb the slide or dash down the roller coaster.

The cars and garage have become a great place to work together and start conversations.  If just one kid is there, they’re happy, when there are more, they work together building, racing cars, or bringing other toys into the area to extend the game.

My thanks to Sara and Griffin for all of their help today!

Monday, October 8 - What We Did Today!

Today we looked at some red plant life that I brought in from my walk.  I asked the kids to look at it, smell it, feel it, and listen to it.  Then I had them describe it to me.  They said it was spikey, pokey, red and small.  It smelled gross.  And pieces came off of it.  I told them they were seeds from a dogwood tree.  Great job working on their descriptions.

At the art table, some kids were adding their faces to their self-portraits.  Some were mixing their skin color. Others were checking out the shape of their heads to be cut from the painted paper.  Wednesday I will attempt to have everyone’s self-portrait finished and on the board!

Margot and Josie had so much fun mixing paint they asked me if they could keep mixing.  I brought out something to put the paint into with several extra cups for mixing and left them to it.  When I came back, Margot had created black with a bluish tint.  Josie was still working slowly and had several different pots of mixed paint.  Eventually, she mixed them all into one as well.

A new set-up in the dry table allowed for various tubes to roll chestnuts down.  It wasn’t even circle time before a couple of kids had chosen to roll cars down the tubes instead of the chestnuts.  The biggest problem with this was that many of the cars quickly stuck inside a skinny tube.  This did not seem to stop them though, they continued for most of the morning.

Kristen was outside with two to five kids the entire morning.  They were in their “house” working away.  My thanks to Rachel and Kristen for all of their help!


Friday, October 5 - What We Did Today!

Today everyone was very busy!  The signing in is coming along well with all of the kids participating.  Please remember, if they just scribble their name, that is okay.  We are practicing at whatever stage we are at.  We have been trying new things at first circle.  I am trying to find a way for kids to hold their thoughts while I tell them what is happening.  I had them wait while I explained what was happening at the centers, then, I asked them to imagine what they would like to try first and when they knew, to raise their hands.  Once they told me where they were going to go, I had them head off.  We will see if this helps to build some of the impulse control.

We cut our heads out of the painted paper after checking in the mirror for shape.  We had many circles and ovals, but only one triangle (which it was).  We checked for hair colors and types.  Cut yarn the right length and glued it on to our heads.  Next up, faces!

Playdough was popular today with many different things being created.  Sebastian made a glog by himself after saying he couldn’t, and Rowan was making lots of different creatures.

Outside, Brittni had at least one kid for most of the free play.  When I was outside there was roller coaster rides, of course, and some digging.  River told me he found a worm in the garden.  We have been checking out our pumpkins and we have 3 different varieties growing.  There is the Cinderella – orangey pink – the white ones – can’t remember their names, and the pie pumpkins – the small orange ones.  I’m looking forward to harvesting them!

There was much manipulative play today, Liam and Simon and then Margot and Una were building marble runs.  Liam and Simon were also testing out cars on various ramps to see where they would go.  Addy, Eliza and Una were having a picnic, Addy and Rowan mixed their skin color, and Sebastian and Bash were making crazy Mr. Potato Heads!

We had some quiet reading time while the last kids finished up their snack.  Today I brought out some National Geographic Kids magazines for them to read.  We talked about what we saw that we were interested in.

My thanks to Tony and Brittni for all of their help!

Thursday, October 4 - What We Did Today!

Today we were busy with several favorites.  At the play dough table, we started with chocolate play dough, a favorite of mine for many reasons, when someone asked me, why do we just have brown play dough?  I told her that if we had more than one color, the two would get mixed together and that would create brown play dough.  She said they would not mix them, so I brought out the purple play dough on one side of the table and kept the brown play dough on the other.  They were true to their word and had a great time manipulating glass stones into the play dough or out of the play dough.

At the art table, there were several baskets of collage items, glue, and scissors.  Collaging with little ones is fascinating as they are still figuring out how much glue is enough, what side it goes on, and other process-oriented questions.

The water table is always a favorite.  There is something about warm water and tools to play with that calm even the toughest kid.  It also can rile them up when the tools have many uses, including blowing into water and squirting water, but hey, that’s why the come to preschool, so you don’t have to try it at home!

Outside, there were kids climbing trees, riding the roller coaster, and sliding on the play structure.  The weather has been great for them to enjoy the outside area.

At circle, we have been learning some Halloween songs.  Be sure to check with your child and see if they have a favorite, mine is Stirring!

My thanks to Melinda and Alicia as well as Pat and Mim for all of their help today!

Wednesday, October 3 - What We Did Today!

Today we read about all the shades of brown there are in skin, cinnamon, chocolate, honey, ginger, French toast and many others.  We then mixed our skin color using red, yellow, white and black paint.  The kids tested their colors on the back of their hands to check on how close they were getting.  Once they were comfortable with the color, they painted a piece of paper using their color.  This will become the base of our self-portraits.

The water table draws a lot of kids, whether to splash or try to decide how the tools work I’m not sure.

Outside Brad was busy keeping track of who was next on the roller coaster.  Was it Josie, Lex, Molly, Eliza, who knows?  Gus and Rowan were working in the sand box and trees, Bash, Sebastian and Molly were digging for “all the worms” in the garden.  They were having a tough time finding any despite how deep Bash was digging.  I think the five hundred that I let loose headed out of town as soon as possible!

Eliza, Addy, Una, and Josie were playing family, making food, taking care of the baby and anything else they could think of.

River and Josie were using tweezers to pull brown things out of the chestnut table while Bodhi, Eliza, Simon, and Liam were racing cars around.

My thanks to Jake and Brad for all of their help today!

Tuesday, October 2 - What We Did Today!

Today the full twelve kids were here with Lisette starting her first day with us.  It is a great group of kids and they seem to be enjoying themselves.

At the art table, we dropped liquid watercolors on to leaf shaped defusing paper.  The colors spread out across the shape and mix together at various spots.  It is fun to ask the kids where they got blue since I didn’t put blue paint out. 

The chocolate play dough was used today to bring some kids together in play.  Conversation starts as they share play dough and ideas.

The water table has some tubes, basters, cups, and pumps.  The kids are testing them out to see what does what and because no one has told them how to do it, they are finding many other ideas in which to use the tools.

With all of our car lovers, I brought out an old garage I got at the rummage sale.  Many of the kids were lining up cars, driving them to the elevator, driving them down the ramps and home to a place on the floor mat.  There was a lot of interactive play.

Outside, the kids were sliding, digging, climbing, and riding the roller coaster.  James set up a ladder in the trees to give the kids something new to climb as well as a balance beam to walk onto the structure stairs.  Much fun was had!  My thanks to Michelle and James for all of their help!

Monday, October 1 - What We Did Today!

Today we had a circle full of talkers.  To make that work, I had each person tell us something they did last weekend.  For some kids this was a simple “I went camping” but others had a five-minute speech prepared.  As difficult as it was to get through this, I think it is a good way for the kids to realize their turn will come also.  I may continue to work this in to morning circle if everyone’s patience allows for it!

At the art table, we had eye droppers, liquid watercolors, and leaf shapes.  We will hang our Autumn leaves when they dry, but many will also be coming home!  Some kids had so much fun they made four or five, so you may be enjoying the Autumn leaves in your home!

The water table had some tubes, pumps, basters, and cups.  It was great watching the kids test the equipment and attempt to figure out how the water was getting up to the top of the pump, or wonder why wouldn’t it pump when it was being held higher in the air?

I brought in a new manipulative that I found over the summer.  It has 26 3 or 4 inch acorns each with a letter of the alphabet on the outside.  When you take off the cap, there is a small object that starts with that letter.  For instance, S is a small star with a capital S on the acorn and a lower-case s on the inside of the cap.  They are also color coordinated, the star is blue the letter on the acorn is blue, and the cap is blue.  Many kids were testing this out and I was able to see the variation in where each child was regarding letters and sounds.  What a great tool for me and a fun one for the kids.

My thanks to Cheryl and Naomi for all of their help today!

Friday, September 28 - What We Did Today!

Today we had a total of 15 kids for the first time this year.  And, yes, three more kids do make that big of a difference.  Una brought in some leaves for us to see and compare and then Bash showed us a praying mantis and a butterfly he had in a bug catcher.  We were able to take the praying mantis out of the catcher and put him into our big aquarium to observe.  What a great opportunity!

Inside, much was going on.  Sensory wise we had chocolate play dough, fishing in the water table and searching for brown things in the dry table.  Most of the interest was in the dry table.  While using the tweezers, they picked up various brown items hidden among the chestnuts.  Great practice for their fine motor skills.

The art table was another activity meant to work their fine motor skills.  There were crayons and pencil sharpeners along with waxed paper and an iron.  Sharpening the crayons creates small flakes of wax that drop onto the wax paper.  These were folded and ironed by Jeff and then passed back to the kids.  The process of the sharpening takes much control of the fingers.  The kids then could cut their paper into any shape they wanted and then add a string to hang them up.  Many of the kids decided they made great necklaces by punching two holes into the paper and adding the string.  Very creative!

In the dramatic play area, Una was busy making sandwiches while Addy was busy eating sandwiches.  Liam and Simon were creating different ramps to run cars down.  Margo, Una, Simon, and Liam were busy building the marble run without any adult intervention.  Later, Margo, Molly and Rowan were working on the structure and had added much to the original structure.  Our new student, Lex, moved among everyone with much confidence.  He is a great addition to our class!

My thanks to Jeff and Rachel for all of their help today!

Thursday, September 27 - What We Did Today!

Today we had a wonderful day with some opportunities to work on conflict resolution skills!  As I have said before, this group is amazing, they keep themselves busy, help clean-up toys even if they did not play with them, and they line up so quietly you’d swear they were Kindergarteners.

Inside, the fishing poles are still popular, even though I have to untangle them two to three times a day.  Kids are catching fish, counting fish, attempting to catch certain colored fish, and seeing how many fish they can get on the hook at one time.

The chocolate play dough is still being squished, patted, rolled, and cut into various shapes.  I like to watch kids practice cutting with the play dough and scissors.

At the art table, we are sharpening crayons leaving shavings of crayons on wax paper.  We fold the paper in half and iron the shavings causing them to melt and mix and spread.  The kids can then cut the paper into a special shape and then hang it in the window where the sun shines through the colors.  This is not as easy as you think.  These kids are just beginning to strengthen their fine motor skills which is necessary to twist a crayon in a sharpener.  This did not slow them down one bit!

Many of the kids started out the day playing with the cars and track.  This tends to bring in about four or five kids in the same area.  There is always conversation, story lines and some disagreements.  A perfect set up for conflict resolution practice. 

Elliette was cooking for June and Baker while Oliver, Morrie, and Alex were enjoying the music from the CD player.  Cordelia was climbing the rock wall (up and down!) while Morrie and Alex were digging in the sand.  Seyi was totally into the crayon shavings project, spending most of her day there, while Harlan was there for a moment then on to new things.  My thanks to Ayo and Amber for all of their help today!

Tuesday, September 25 - What We Did Today!

Today we celebrated Alex’s birthday with a song and strawberry cake.  It was actually very good.  The easel painting is with palette knives which I really enjoy watching.  Since it’s not a regular “thing”, it takes a moment to figure out what to do.  The technique leaves a very cool line of paint which holds a variation of the color being used.

Not explored much, the art table had warming trays and crayons.  The subtle warming of the crayon leaves a glossy almost paint like look.  While testing it out, Seyi discovered that if you forget and leave the crayons on the paper, they continue to melt leaving a puddle of color.  She was very excited about this possibility and continued attempting to puddle more crayons.

The dry table is filled with horse chestnuts and other brown things.  There are tweezers as well, to pick up different objects that are found.  The kids were very interested in this to start out, but I think the warm weather called out to them.

Harlan and June were busy making music in the loft which was a joy to listen to.  Harlan headed outside with the idea of catching some bugs.  When James heard what she was up to, he joined in and they spent the rest of the time digging in various places looking for bugs.

The playdough was brought out after the cake was finished.  It is one of my favorite tools to get kids to start conversations with each other.  Because they don’t have to make eye contact, they can be looking at what the are making, they are more comfortable talking to someone in the same area.  Not only does this promote language and conversation skills, but it is an easy way to find out about another kid without putting themselves in an uncomfortable place.  Many friendships are cemented with play dough!

My thanks to Melinda and George for all of their help today!